Many accident victims are hesitant about pursuing an injury claim against the negligent party. Their reasons often stem from watching the drama unfold in TV courtrooms. In real life, however, trials are not as dramatic. In actuality, a large majority of personal injury claims never see the inside of a courtroom – this is because most insurers know that they are better off settling and staying out of court. However, if there are adequate reasons for doing so, your case could make it to trial, and you will need an attorney by your side to represent your best interests.
When you first meet with an attorney, your attorney will draft and send a demand letter to the negligent party or his or her insurance company. This letter is often all it takes to settle a claim. The demand letter will state that you have suffered injuries, and that you are entitled to a settlement amount of compensation due to your injuries, as well as the fact that these injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligence.
If the demand letter is not 100 percent successful, defendants may agree to pay the sum rather than take the case to trial. Regardless, the demand letter is the first step in the personal injury claim process – and it will determine if your case moves forward to trial or if it will settle immediately. If the case does move forward, there are numerous steps that your attorney will take to prepare you for the trial itself – including testifying.
Sometimes, the defense will enter negotiations or start the deposition process. Depositions are question-and-answer sessions done outside of the courtroom – and they are less formal than actually testifying. You are still under oath and must tell the truth, but the deposition helps the defense and plaintiff see what evidence each side has, and better assess whether or not going to trial is the best move.
In most cases, the claim will settle during or after depositions – especially once the defense sees the evidence against it. Your attorney and the defense’s attorney may also go through back and forth negotiations. Your attorney will use negligence and evidence to help keep the settlement value high, present medical records to show your suffering, and also use affidavits to prove that you may have long-term suffering sustained from your injury. Your attorney will then present any potential settlements to you, and give you the opportunity to accept or reject them.
If you reject settlements, it is likely that your case will go to trial. Your attorney may inform you that it is better to accept low settlements – especially if the insurance company is clearly uninterested in working with you to reach a fair settlement.
It is difficult to determine if a case will go to trial. It all comes down to the demand letter and the evidence that you have for proving the other party’s negligence. By hiring an attorney as soon as possible after your injury, you can increase the likelihood that your case will settle outside of court. If you have been injured in a car accident or other incident, and someone else was at-fault, contact Malman Law today. We offer free consultations and would love to discuss your case. Schedule your appointment today by calling our offices, or fill out our online contact form with any of your legal questions.